Cairo Santos

Browns Expected To Replace K Zane Gonzalez

Zane Gonzalez had a performance to forget against the Saints on Sunday, so the Browns are now auditioning free agent kickers Blair Walsh and Cairo Santos, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) was the first to report Cleveland was expected to change kickers.

Gonzalez was dreadful in Week 2, as he missed two field goals, including a 53-yarder that would have sent the game to overtime, and two extra points, including one that would have given the Browns a one-point lead with less than 90 seconds remaining. Cleveland, of course, was searching for its first victory since the 2016 season. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Gonzalez converted 75% of his field goal attempts and 25-of-26 of his extra points during his rookie campaign.

Both Walsh and Santos come with their own problems. Walsh has dealt with accuracy issues throughout his career, and was cut by the Seahawks after hitting only 72.4% of his field goals in 2017. Santos has historically been the better kicker, but he’s dealt with a nagging groin injury for more than a year.

One name who has yet to be linked to the Browns is veteran Dan Bailey, who was released by the Cowboys at final cutdowns. Per Darren Wolfson of KSTP (Twitter link), Bailey has recently turned down offers from four clubs as he waits for the “right opportunity,” one that may include suiting up for a contender.

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Jets To Release K Cairo Santos

The Jets will release kicker Cairo Santos on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The move was expected after the Jets claimed Jason Myers off waivers to join Taylor Bertolet on the depth chart. 

Santos is dealing with a groin problem, which has been a recurring issue for him throughout his career. The Jets were high on Santos when they signed him in March, but as one source told Schefter, the Jets “just haven’t been able to see enough of him.”

Last year, he missed most of training camp with the Chiefs due to his chronic groin injury and he later aggravated the injury in Week 3. He signed with the Bears after his release, but the same problem landed him on IR.

The Jets also auditioned Kai Forbath on Wednesday, so they might not be done shuffling kickers.

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Jets Claim K Jason Myers Off Waivers

Former Seahawks kicker Jason Myers was claimed by the Jets on Tuesday afternoon, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Myers was released by Seattle on Monday.

The Jets appeared to be set with Cairo Santos as their kicker, but it sounds like his chronic groin injury has become a serious problem. It’s been an issue for him in the past. In 2017, he missed most of training camp with the Chiefs with the same ailment, then subsequently aggravated the injury in Week 3, leading to his release. Then, he hooked on with the Bears, but the same issue landed him on injured reserve.

Myers was with the Jaguars from 2015 through the first six games of the 2017 season. He was released after missing three pivotal field goals, though they were all from 52 yards or longer. All in all, he connected on 64-of-79 field goal attempts (81%) and 76-of-88 extra points (86.4%) in 38 games with the Jags. This offseason, he hooked on with the Seahawks, but he was ultimately displaced by Sebastian Janikowski.

The Jets also have kicker Taylor Bertolet on the roster and it’s unlikely that they’ll carry three kickers for long. It stands to reason that Santos will be released rather quickly.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Pats, Brady

Kicker Cairo Santos didn’t play in the Jets‘ first preseason game and hasn’t been practicing as he deals with a chronic groin injury, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. This issue has come up for Santos in the past: in 2017, he missed most of training camp with the Chiefs with the same ailment, then subsequently aggravated the injury in Week 3, leading to his release. He latched on with the Bears, but the same groin problem forced Santos to injured reserve after he underwent a surgical procedure. While Santos calls his current regimen “a normal process,” New York isn’t going to keep two kickers on its 53-man squad, so Santos’ roster spot could be in danger as the regular season approaches. The Jets have just one other kicker on their roster (2016 undrafted free agent Taylor Bertolet), while free agent options include Nick Novak, Giorgio Tavecchio, Connor Barth, and Nick Folk.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is considered “week-to-week” with a broken middle finger on his right hand, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While the Dolphins are “hopeful” Parker will be available for Week 1, Miami head coach Adam Gase said Parker isn’t currently able to catch footballs, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The Dolphins invested in their wideout corps this offseason, signing both Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson to multi-year deals. Those two veterans, when added to holdovers Kenny Stills and Leonte Carroo, should give Miami enough depth to withstand a potential Parker absence. Parker, a first-round pick in the 2016 draft, hauled in 57 catches for 670 yards and one touchdown a season ago.
  • Speaking of injuries, the unspecified injury Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor suffered in May was actually a broken ankle, per Cimini (Twitter links). It was a new break for Pryor, who also broke his ankle in 2017 with the Redskins (an injury which subsequently landed him on injured reserve). New York head coach Todd Bowles was apparently not pleased at Pryor’s disclosure, telling reporters that Pryor should “keep his mouth shut” with regard to injury news. Pryor, who posted only 20 receptions in 11 games with Washington last season, inked a one-year, $4.5MM with Gang Green that contains $2MM in full guarantees.
  • Asked about his previously hinted desire to play until he’s 45 years old, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady mostly deflected, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. “You know, I think you always have short-term goals and long-term goals and this year’s the one I’m focused on and obviously I want to play for a long time so I’ve said that for a while,” Brady said. “Feel like I’m a broken record. You know, it’s really this year is the focus and this team. This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully I can go out and be that.”

Jets Sign K Cairo Santos

The Jets have announced the signing of free agent kicker Cairo Santos. It’s a one-year deal, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Gang Green is seeking to replace Chandler Catanzaro, who signed with the Buccaneers on Wednesday. Catanzaro received $9.75MM over three years from Tampa Bay, so the Jets have found a decidedly cheaper option.

Santos was the Chiefs’ kicker for three seasons, but an injury during pregame warmups before a game against the Chargers led to Santos’ Kansas City exit. The Brazilian specialist finished last season with the Bears, kicking in three games. The 26-year-old kicker made 31 of his 35 field goal tries during his last full slate with the Chiefs in 2016.

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Jets Likely To Sign K Cairo Santos

The Jets are meeting with kicker Cairo Santos, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Santos was PFR’s No. 7 ranked kicker heading into free agency, behind last year’s Jets kicker, Chandler Catanzaro.

Catanzaro has agreed to sign with the Bucs on a three-year deal worth $9.75MM, leaving the Jets with a void at kicker.

Santos was the Chiefs’ kicker for three seasons, but an injury during pregame warmups before a game against the Chargers led to Santos’ Kansas City exit. The Brazilian specialist finished last season with the Bears, kicking in three games. The 26-year-old kicker made 31 of his 35 field goal tries during his last full slate with the Chiefs in 2016.

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Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Bears Place Cairo Santos On IR, Expected To Sign Mike Nugent

Chicago has already gone through two kickers this season and will now add one more to the list in Week 14. The team has placed current kicker Cairo Santos on injured reserve thanks to a groin injury, reports Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Biggs adds in another tweet that the Bears are expected to replace him with veteran Mike Nugent.

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Santos, 26, was signed by the team two weeks ago to replace Connor Barth. In that time, the former Kansas City placekicker converted just one of his two field goal tries to make him 4-5 on the year if you include his first three games of the season as a member of the Chiefs.

The 26-year-old had a decent three-year run in Kansas City before he was eventually replaced by Harrison Butker when Santos consequently suffered another groin injury earlier in the season.

In Nugent, Chicago brings in a kicker with a lot of experience. The 35-year-old is now playing in his 14th year in the NFL after most recently filling in for Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey for four games while Bailey was recovering from an injury of his own. However, Nugent was not steady during his short stint with Dallas, as he missed three of the seven kicks he tried. In his career, Nugent has converted just over 80% of his field goals, with his longest make coming from 55 yards out.

Chicago has not seemed to be able to get their kicking game right since the team moved on from its long-time kicker Robbie Gould after the 2015-16 season. They’ll likely be looking for a new full-time option to lock down the spot as they head into the offseason in a few weeks.

 

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Bears Sign K Cairo Santos

The Bears are signing free agent kicker Cairo Santos, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Of course, with Santos in Chicago, Connor Barth is out of a job. Cairo Santos (Vertical)

Santos met with both the Bears and Bucs recent weeks. When he visited with the Bucs, he was not yet healthy enough to resume playing. When the Bears met with him, he still had a bit to go in rehab and the inconsistent Barth was coming off of a strong performance. Now that Santos is healthy and Barth has faltered again by missing a game-tying field goal in Sunday’s loss to the Lions, the timing was right for a change.

Santos spent his entire career with the Chiefs until a groin injury slowed him this year, causing the team to cut him in September. Before his release, he converted 3-of-3 field goal tries this season and went 6-for-6 on extra points. Last year, he nailed 31 of 35 field goal tries, good for fifth in the league amongst kickers (88.6%).

Next up for Santos and the Bears is a tough road matchup against the red-hot Eagles.

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Bears Meet With K Cairo Santos

The Bears met with Cairo Santos on Thursday and gave him a physical, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. As of this writing, the Bears have not signed Santos to a deal, but it is a sign that they are at least mulling a kicking change. Cairo Santos (Vertical)

Connor Barth is coming off of a strong performance in which he sank field goal attempts from 45, 44, and 49 yards in a rainy game against the Packers. However, he has been inconsistent overall this season. All in all, Barth has missed four of his 14 field goal tries, though three of those attempts were from 40-49 yards out and one was from further than 50 yards.

Santos has been on the market since being waived/injured by the Chiefs in late September. The Buccaneers reportedly wanted to sign him in October, but he was not healthy enough to play at that time.

Before getting cut loose, he converted 3-of-3 field goal tries and went 6-for-6 on extra points. He also had ten touchbacks on his 18 kickoffs. Last year, the 26-year-old sank 31 of 35 field goal tries, good for fifth in the league amongst kickers (88.6%).

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